Issue 9: Max Ghiara

Rerun Vulgarium Fragmenta

For Shalaka


After finishing fragmenting

The Canzoniere, P.

Was secretly sure

Nobody is Unhappy

Against their Will.

WB, foreseeing deaths,

Amongst the wild beat of Wings,

Was certain Wisdom’s

Not a pallid Kestrel.

Or praying Angel

Free falling,


Till the catch-up

End. Splat!

Against the flat

Edge of Round Earth,

Fallen apart.

That tinnitus was

Fucking uncommon

Old Uncle Tom

Noise-making in the chimneys,

Roughly playing S. Claus?

And Ezra, Master Secretary

To a middle-aged Monument,

Fiercely resisted learning Anything

About becoming one.

Rooted out of his country’s history,

After 13 years as an impacted wisdom Tooth

From a Perpetually Swollen Lower Jaw,

He finally won a prize

But wanted only Ice

For that suffering-puffed face:

Black Shirts!

Revolutionary Brothers

Around the World!

So sweet it is to

Escape the Lonesome

Asylum of the Skull.


Capito sees the Trees

Recede from his


Birds reduce to flickers

Of Neon. Shadows

In the Unguent Haze.

Urgent Bellows

Of the Herds,

The metallic Squeal

Of Nerves

From Packed Buses,

High-stacked Trucks,

These are the Music Makers

At work, turning the wheel

Of the Aging Cheese.

Rancid with Blue Veins,

The brush-stroked

Stain spreads

A Stench of Great Beauty

For the Visiting Epicure.


Capito reprises Hans

Who would have been almost

Four Hundred and Seventy

If only he had just forgotten to die,

Retraces the trajectory

Of his Life

From High Cheese

To High Cheese.

From Dancing Death

To the Black Frontispiece

Of the Protestor’s Common

Book of Hours.

To the sudden color

Of  the women with Dead

Eyes cowering under

The gaze of the Great Pig,

His eyes rolling

In a Royal Trough:

Always ready to be

Unhappy in or out

Of Love,

Ever ready to be Unwise.

Rock Continents

With an uncertain Cock.

Change the chameleon

Shades of his gazingstock God.

And add up, add up

The treasure troves of His

Chosen Vicars on Earth.


Capito Cocks

His Gun.

Aims it at the

Clown in the Mirror.


Hey Brother,

I’ve got you covered!

Just give me the Word,

Any Word,

When you get to

Where Enough is Enough.

And Hans rallies to

The Awk Wards of Middle Earth.

Their cries of:

Painter, Painter,

As a portrait Emerges

Of Absences in the Pictures

That are finally beginning to burn Now:

… et del mio vaneggiar vergogna Ë 'l frutto…

And Shame is the Fruit of Our Vanities

In our Vernacular,

So what if I didn’t say it first?

Scuola della Magia

for Adil

You know old Pliny’s pretty sure

Achilles’ hometown girls

Knew the magic words

To bring the moon down.

And that lost Menander

Was the Magus

For that trick.

So you think

Giacomo’s mind was on

Thessaly as he listened

To Sylvia’s laughter?

Old Pliny’s also certain

Magic originated with

One Zoroaster,

Though he is unsure if the poet

Who wrote 2 million verses

Playing I-Spy with


Was really


Man! The old-timer lists a

Second Zoroaster

(And the first Osthanes)

Who travelled with Xerxes

In his War train to Greece,

As The One, probably!

Wait, there’s more:

There was a second Osthanes

Who Followed Alexander to India

With his own bag of tricks—

Though the second Menander

Who became Milinda

Without abracadabra

Did not record any of his

Thoughts about Magicians.

O anima mia! Ecce Homo Crofardi!

All this Disputa before

Magical remedies for toothache:

Grains of sand from snail horns

Dog’s eye tooth

Dragon vertebrae

And all this Disputa

Though the old ipocrita himself advises

Any fuss is unwarranted because

Magic is such pauvre philosophie  

Even Nero abandoned it.

And never mind that first Nero’s hang-ups

About Incitatus and the

Linia cesarzy – centaurów

Or why Rzym runął

That old P. would call

The magic of a Polish Zoroaster

If he could speak now.

Though you think Zbigniew

Could have made his lines rock

Even more than they do

If he had imagined

The magic in her eyes

As Caesonia eyeballed

That horse’s giant cock?

So we are at the third Z, already,

Fine but guys? ZZZ? Really??

Taliban Redux buddies!

Good times!

Why is there no magic

In this Trojan war?

Why just the pitiless

Sword of Dsykolos—

Agamemnon turned inside out—

Laying waste?

The great fire at Balkh

Was no magic trick

Though it is gone now

(It disappeared under the

Shade of swords).

One poet born in Balkh

Sacrificed his “angel-soul”

To please a God who’s still saying

Not enough, not enough

Though he did not

Know which One He was,

Or His number.

No walls

Of that

Stanza della Segnatura

Still stand now,

But the uncontained light

Of the philosophers

Shines on the iced mountains

With a sprezzatura that

Rivals R. and all his Friends—

Sanzio da Urbino and his

Urbane Courtiers—

And Capito can see

The correspondence

Between two scenes.

That scruffy old man firmly

In the centre

Needs a bath tub

That will reflect the glow

From the jeweled globe

In the hands of

Balkh’s Old Master

And that Drone

Readying to fire

On the unwilling bather

From above

Has all the firepower

Of One but can go again

A second time.

Max Ghiara began writing poetry when he was 12 and had a book out before he left High School. After reading mathematics and economics at university, he obtained an MBA and a PMP from Ivy League universities and went walkabout in the cold, for Mammon, all over the world. These poems represent his return to Sulis Minerva.